In Terms of Classic Rock, This song is one of the most important. This song is considered by many to be the very first rock and roll song.
The song also features one of the first examples of distortion, or fuzz guitar ever recorded, played by the band’s guitarist Willie Kizart. The song was recorded in the Memphis studio of producer Sam Phillips in March 1951, and licensed to Chess Records for release. The record was supposed to be credited to Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm featuring Jackie Brenston, but Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats was printed instead. Turner blamed Phillips for this error since he is the one who licensed it to Chess.
The legend of how the sound came about says that Kizart’s amplifier was damaged on Highway 61 when the band was driving from Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee. An attempt was made to hold the cone in place by stuffing the amplifier with wadded newspapers, which unintentionally created a distorted sound; Phillips liked the sound and used it. Peter Guralnick, in his biography of Sam Phillips has the amplifier being dropped from the car’s trunk when the band got a flat tire and was digging out the spare. Link Wray explains the development of his fuzz tone with a similar story.